The fourth and last installment of the "Everything is a Remix" series on intellectual property is finally here. It isn't necessary but if you have not watched the three other excellent episodes I suggest you do. The first, second and third can be viewed at their respective links.

The latest video discusses the nature of the problem, and what to do next.

"Our system of law doesn’t acknowledge the derivative nature of creativity. Instead, ideas are regarded as property, as unique and original lots with distinct boundaries. But ideas aren’t so tidy. They’re layered, they’re interwoven, they’re tangled. And when the system conflicts with the reality… the system starts to fail."

Everything is a Remix Part 4 from Kirby Ferguson on Vimeo.

If you're intrigued or unconvinced feel free to browse these videos that make the legitimate case against Intellectual 'Property'. Alternatively you can search the site here.

At the beginning of the documentary we see Jason Russell tell a crowd of young people that they must STAND AGAINST WAR. By the end of the documentary, he advocates MILITARY INTERVENTION*. Perhaps we should think about this a little more deeply.

Charity Review:

“Only 32% went to direct services (page 6), with much of the rest going to staff salaries, travel and transport, and film production. This is far from ideal for an issue which arguably needs action and aid, not awareness, andCharity Navigator rates their accountability 2/4 stars because they lack an external audit committee. But it goes way deeper than that.”

  
Commentary: 
 
Related Sources:
 
The Solution?
 
**Image: The Founders of Invisible Children posing with the Sudan People’s Liberation Army (SPLA). Who themselves have used child-soldiers.

The Prime Ministers of Australia and New Zealand have spoken, there shall be a commission! Specifically the 'Productivity Commission' has been tasked with, conducting a joint scoping study on strengthening trans-Tasman economic relations [to] identify reforms that will boost productivity, increase competitiveness and drive deeper economic integration between the two countries.[1

These are exemplary ends aimed at but as Murray Rothbard indicates:

Governments... seem to be congenitally incapable of keeping their mitts off any part of the economy. Government, aided and abetted by its host of apologists among intellectuals and policy wonks, likes to regard itself as a deus ex machina (a "god out of the machine") that surveys its subjects with Olympian benevolence and omniscience, and then repeatedly descends to earth to fix up the numerous "market failures" that mere people, in their ignorance, persist in committing.

The fact that history is a black record of continual gross failure by this "god," and that economic theory explains why it must be so, makes no impression on official political discourse.[2]

The announcement of a government commissioned report must be taken with great caution. Unfortunately many see no problem and claim the productivity commission is independent of politics. But how independent is it really? Murray Rothbard has the answer:

     "Independent of politics" has a nice, neat ring to it, and has been a staple of proposals for bureaucratic intervention and power ever since the Progressive Era. Sweeping the streets; control of seaports; regulation of industry; providing social security; these and many other functions of government are held to be "too important" to be subject to the vagaries of political whims. But it is one thing to say that private, or market, activities should be free of government control, and "independent of politics" in that sense. But these are government agencies and operations we are talking about, and to say that government should be "independent of politics" conveys very different implications.

For government, unlike private industry on the market, is not accountable either to stockholders or consumers. Government can only be accountable to the public and to its representatives in the legislature; and if government becomes "independent of politics" it can only mean that that sphere of government becomes an absolute self-perpetuating oligarchy, accountable to no one and never subject to the public's ability to change its personnel or to "throw the rascals out." If no person or group, whether stockholders or voters, can displace a ruling elite, then such an elite becomes more suitable for a dictatorship than for an allegedly democratic country.
[3]

What then is to be expected from this "independent" government research body?[4] In the section entitled "How far should integration go?" the proposition of a single currency is put foward,

the common currency element of economic union can be a positive or a negative... and in practice will depend on how they are implemented.[5]

Historically as the study notes suggest there are parallels to be drawn from the recent events in Europe,

Currency union is one area where the loss of local decision-making can be problematic. On one hand, there are potential benefits in avoiding the transaction costs associated with having separate currencies. On the other, where business cycles and economic changes (such as the ‘mining boom’) affect the two countries differently, there could be costs in not having independent exchange rates. The recent experience of countries in the Eurozone is instructive in this respect.[6]

Foreseeing the events that later transpired a decade later with the establishment of a European Central Bank (ECB) in 1989 Murray Rothbard discusses the European Union and the ultimate Keyensian dream.

The Nobel Laurete F. A. Hayek also provided some commentary on the prospects for a single European currency, presumably in the 1990 revision of the work: “Denationalisation of Money: The Argument Refined”,

     Though I strongly sympathise with the desire to complete the economic unification of Western Europe by completely freeing the flow of money between them, I have grave doubts about the desirability of doing so by creating a new European currency managed by any sort of supra-national authority. Quite apart from the extreme unlikelihood that the member countries would agree on the policy to be pursued in practice by a common monetary authority (and the practical inevitability of some countries getting a worse currency than they have now), it seems highly unlikely, even in the most favourable circumstances, that it would be administered better than the present national currencies. Moreover, in many respects a single international currency is not better but worse than a national currency if it is not better run. It would leave a country with a financially more sophisticated public not even the chance of escaping from the consequences of the crude prejudices governing the decisions of the others. The advantage of an international authority should be mainly to protect a member state from the harmful measures of others, not to force it to join in their follies.[7]

Moving forward what could be done to boost productivity, increase competitiveness, and drive deeper economic intergration between not only two countries but all countries? Put simply, eliminate trade barriers, and all it would take is 16 words:

Regulated trade between the individuals, companies, and institutions within our respective countries will be illegal henceforth.[8]

In regards to promoting greater monetary 'integration' with a freedom agenda, the domestic response of each country should be toward sound money: eliminate legal tender laws[9], thus opening up competition in currencies[10], and abolish central banking[11]. Otherwise what happened in the Eurozone could potentially happen here[12], especially if the proposed plan expands to include other Asia-Pacific nations.[13],[14]

 



Sources:

[1] Trans-Tasman Issues Paper, 2012. Transtasman-review.pc.gov.au.

[2] The Cross of Fixed Exchange Rates, Murray N. Rothbard, 1987.

[3] The Case Against the Fed: Money and Politics, Murray N. Rothbard, 1994.

[4] This is the same 'Productivity Commission' that announced several years ago the claim that babies, yes babies, are a drag on productivity. I am half surprised the diaper industry lobby didn't react with outrage "But who will wear the diapers?" or vigoriously propose that their industry "must be subsidized to prevent a new diaper depression." I guess this commissions previous report proves that you can throw the baby out with the bathwater! In all seriousness, this is just another example of economists addressing the 'seen' but failing to consider the 'unseen'. Taking their established 'principle' to its logical conclusion in the form of a reductio ad absurdum indicates as much.

[5] Trans-Tasman Issues Paper, 2012, p.19

[6] Trans-Tasman Issues Paper, 2012, p.20

[7] Denationalisation of Money, Refined: Hayek, 1990.

[8] How Long Does A Free-Trade Agreement Need to Be?, Tim Swanson, July 2008.

[9] The Economics of Legal Tender Laws (video); "The Ethics of Money Production" by Jörg Guido Hülsmann, Chapter 10. Legal-Tender Laws p.125-131.

[10] An excerpt from Murray Rothbard's, The Gold Standard: Perspectives in the Austrian School (Mises Institute, 1992):

... How, then, can the dollar be privatized or denationalized? Obviously not by making counterfeiting legal. There is only one way: to link the dollar once again to a useful market commodity. Only by changing the definition of the dollar from fiat paper tickets issued by the government to a unit of weight of some market commodity, can the function of issuing money be permanently and totally shifted from government to private hands...

Also see: Mises on Monetary Reform: The Private Alternative by Jorg Guido Hulsmann, The Gold Standard by Ludwig von Mises, and The Case for a 100 Percent Gold Dollar by Murray Rothbard.

[11] The Evil Princes of Martin Place: Why We Should Abolish the RBA by Chris Leithner, The Theory of Central Banking by Robert P. Murphy

[12] The Bailout of Greece and the End of the Euro by Phillip Bagus, The EMU as a Self-Destroying System by Phillip Bagus, 20 Quotes from Leaders that Prove the System is over, The Future of the European Union by Yumi Kim, The EU Crackup by Lew Rockwell

[13] Plans of Asia-Pacific integration through Single Currency by Jose Roy, 2009; Asian Leaders ponder common currency by Karen Percy, 2009.

[14] If you would like to make a submission you can do so here, which are due by the 31st of May. A draft report will be released in September 2012. "Submissions may range from a short letter outlining your views on a particular topic to a much more substantial document covering a range of issues. Where possible, you should provide evidence, such as relevant data and documentation, to support your views."

On Saturday the citizens of Brisbane visited polling booths to elect their 'representatives'. Up for grabs in the local city election were Major, and numerous councillor positions for the various wards.

The end result was that Graham Quirk from the LNP was re-elected Mayor of Brisbane. The Liberal-National Party extended their lead by three seats to hold 18. The ALP holds five, an Independent one, and two (Northgate and Deagan) currently hang in the balance.

It is also interesting to note that,

"Tennyson Ward voters have ushered in Brisbane City Council's first independent councillor in 60 years. Councillor Elect Nicole Johnston ruffled LNP feathers when she quit the party in her first term going on to develop an extremely inharmonious relationship with Lord Mayor Graham Quirk."

Unimpressed with being forced to vote, some entrepreneurial minds got creative.

Here Rory Sutherland argues that the circumstances of our lives may matter less than how we see them. At TEDxAthens, he makes a compelling case for how re-framing and the importance of choice is the key to happiness. Ludwig von Mises and the Austrian School of Economics get a substational 'shout-out' early in the 13th minute but you should watch the whole presentation.

An excerpt of Hans-Hermann Hoppe’s second talk at the Mises Seminar in Sydney:

"…If one wanted to summarize in one word the decisive difference and advantage of a competitive security industry as compared to the current statist practice, it would be: contract.

The state operates in a legal vacuum. There exists no contract between the state and its citizens. It is not contractually fixed, what is actually owned by whom, and what, accordingly, is to be protected. It is not fixed, what service the state is to provide, what is to happen if the state fails in its duty, nor what the price is that the “customer” of such “service” must pay. Rather, the state unilaterally fixes the rules of the game and can change them, per legislation, during the game. Obviously, such behavior is inconceivable for freely financed security providers. Just imagine a security provider, whether police, insurer or arbitrator, whose offer consisted in something like this: I will not contractually guarantee you anything. I will not tell you what I oblige myself to do if, according to your opinion, I do not fulfill my service to you but in any case, I reserve the right to unilaterally determine the price that you must pay me for such undefined service. Any such security provider would immediately disappear from the market due to a complete lack of customers.

Each private, freely financed security producer must instead offer its prospective clients a contract. And these contracts must, in order to appear acceptable to voluntarily paying consumers, contain clear property descriptions as well as clearly defined mutual services and obligations. Each party to a contract, for the duration or until the fulfillment of the contract, would be bound by its terms and conditions; and every change of terms or conditions would require the unanimous consent of all parties concerned.

Specifically, in order to appear acceptable to security buyers, these contracts must contain provisions about what will be done in the case of a conflict or dispute between the protector or insurer and his own protected or insured clients as well as in the case of a conflict between different protectors or insurers and their respective clients. And in this regard only one mutually agreeable solution exists: in these cases the conflicting parties contractually agree to arbitration by a mutually trusted but independent third party. And as for this third party: it, too, is freely financed and stands in competition with other arbitrators or arbitration agencies. Its clients, i.e., the insurers and the insured, expect of it, that it come up with a verdict that is recognized as fair and just by all sides. Only arbitrators capable of forming such judgments will succeed in the arbitration market. Arbitrators incapable of this and viewed as biased or partial will disappear from the market…”

The Australia Day checklist for the socialist left is now so predictable that it elicits a nation-wide rolling of the eyes.

And forgive me if I don't trust those advocating the above, when they state their apparent reasoning.

We know the left want to shut down any form of authority which proclaims to be above the authority of the state. Whether it be the family unit, private enterprise or, of course, God. Hence, I suspect the socialist left in Australia want to be rid of the Union Jack on our flag, not because it is a symbol of Britain, as they claim, but because it is a symbol of Christianity.

Remember, the Union Jack consists of the Cross of Saint Andrew, the Cross of Saint Patrick, and the Cross of Saint George. These are not jingoistic British nationalist symbols. Saint Andrew was a disciple of Jesus and the brother of Saint Peter. He was, of course, not British. He was a Middle Eastern Fisherman who was crucified on an X-shape cross. Saint George was a Greek, born in the Roman-controlled Middle East. St George's Cross has its origins in medieval times and it has been adopted on the coat of arms and flags of several countries and cities other than England, for example Georgia, Genoa, Montreal, Milan and Barcelona. Saint Patrick, the patron saint of Ireland, is celebrated all over the world on St. Patrick's Day. Given the complexities and historical antagonisms between the Irish and British, Saint Patrick can hardly be considered a symbol of jingoistic British nationalism from which Australians should recoil.

With regard to the Republic, would it actually do anything to bolster Australia's sovereignty, or the liberty of it's people? If we look closely at the leading advocates of this and other constitutional changes, they are the most vicious opponents of Australia's sovereignty, and individual freedoms. Their arguments supporting the Republic on the basis of patriotism, should not be taken seriously. These arguments are merely convenient propaganda and the rhetoric quickly changes when they argue fervently that Australia give up its sovereignty to the United Nations and other international organisations, under international treaties for things like so-called "global warming" and the "law of the sea".

When someone says they want a new flag and a republic because they are patriots, but in the next breath say Australians ought to pay taxes to United Nations and accept global government, you ought to be suspicious. These people are not patriots, they are incrementalists, who will use whatever argument is available to them for each step.

P.S. This is what the Sydney Morning Herald is running on its front page.